Can I enter on behalf of someone else?
Yes, as long as the person you are submitting on behalf of fits the eligibility criteria, and can be contacted via email or telephone.
I’ve just turned 31. Can I enter?
#Merky Books was created as a home for a new generation of voices, and to encourage a new generation of readers. For this, our first prize, we wanted to focus on supporting younger writers, and so settled on the 16–30 age range. If you are 31 or older by the time applications close on 12 April 2019, or 15 or younger, you will unfortunately not be able to enter. Our partners at First Story offer a range of support and opportunities for younger writers – you can read more on their website here. We’ll also be creating content to explore and explain the writing and publishing process for aspiring writers of all ages, so please do follow our social media channels and register for the #Merky Books newsletter to receive tips, advice and information.
I’ve only just started my book project. Can I still enter?
Yes, providing you have enough material to complete the application form (including a synopsis of 200 words and an extract of 2,500 words for fiction and non-fiction, and a synopsis of 200 words and an extract of 500 words for poetry). Shortlisted writers will be assessed and a winner decided based on the strength of their manuscript (or as much of their manuscript as is available).
Are you accepting entries for children’s books?
No. We may however adapt the New Writers’ Prize to focus on children’s and young adult books in the future.
My friend is working on a collection of poetry, and I am working on a novel. Why does he have to submit only 500 words, and I have to submit 2,500?
Poetry collections are generally a lot shorter than novels, and so we think it’s only fair to ask for less material from those submitting poetry.
Can I enter if I already have a literary agent?
No. We want to discover new voices and writers who don’t already have access to the publishing industry. The winner receives representation with The Good Literary Agency.
If you already have a literary agent, you can ask them to submit your work to an editor at #Merky Books separately from this prize.
Can I enter if I’ve already had work published? What if I’m self-published, published in another format or genre, or published as part of an anthology?
We aren’t able to accept applications from writers who have had a book published in the UK before. We would be happy to receive applications from writers who have been published in another format altogether such as a magazine or newspaper.
Can I post my submission to you?
We are only accepting entries via our online portal, which is open from 12 March to 12 April.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any difficulties submitting online.
Can I submit my project to you outside of the prize?
#Merky Books does not accept unsolicited submissions at present, but we do receive submissions via literary agents. Please follow us on social media to find out more information on how to get published, and sign up to our newsletter to receive information on our future submission initiatives.
Can I submit more than one manuscript?
No. We are accepting only one entry per applicant.
Will the judges read every entry?
The judges will read all shortlisted entries, but we cannot guarantee that they will receive every entry. A panel of #Merky Books and Penguin Random House editors, and staff of First Story and The Good Literary Agency, will however be reading and reviewing every entry.
Will I get any feedback on my application?
After applications have closed, we will publish a blog post providing an overview of common themes and general feedback from the editors involved in the assessment process. We aren’t able to give individual feedback to every applicant due to the volume of applications we expect to receive.
If you are successfully shortlisted, you will receive personalised one-on-one feedback on your work from one of our editors.
Timing and Next Steps
When will I know if I’ve been shortlisted?
We will respond to all applicants with a decision by 2 May. Please follow us on our social media channels for tips, advice and information on the writing and publishing processes, and sign up to the #Merky Books newsletter on our website to receive information on the prize, as well as on all other #Merky Books projects and initiatives.
What happens if I’m shortlisted?
Shortlisted writers will be asked to submit their full manuscript or as much of their manuscript as is available for review by our judges by 9 May 2019. We are also hosting a special event for shortlisted writers in London on 18 May 2019. More details to follow.
What will the shortlist event involve?
The event for shortlisted writers will take place in London on 18 May, and will include writing workshops, presentations and networking opportunities. Each shortlisted writer will also receive personalised feedback from a #Merky Books or Penguin Random House editor.
How many writers will be shortlisted?
Between 10 and 20 writers will be shortlisted in total.
Do I have to attend the shortlisting event to be in with a chance of winning? And will you cover my travel expenses?
Attendance at the shortlist event is not compulsory. It is an opportunity to meet other writers, hear from publishing professionals and receive feedback on your work. If you cannot or would not like to attend, you can still receive feedback over email or a telephone call, and it will not harm your chances of winning in any way.
All travel costs will be reimbursed by Penguin Random House.
What do I get if I win?
The winner will receive a publishing contract with #Merky Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House UK, and representation by a literary agent at The Good Literary Agency.
Will I receive an advance if I win?
Yes. The Good Literary Agency will negotiate an advance on your behalf (as your representative).
What if I win and I don’t accept the terms of the acquisition/advance? Can I take my project elsewhere?
We would hope that we can agree a deal that is acceptable to you. However, if you decide that the terms are unacceptable, you are entitled to reject them. In that event, we may select another winner from the group of shortlisted writers.
If I win, when will my book be published?
A publishing schedule will be drawn up depending on the project, and taking into account how much material is available, and a publication date will be decided collaboratively, with the winning writer, The Good Literary Agency and the #Merky Books team. For most books, we would expect to publish approximately a year after a final manuscript is delivered.
Any other questions? Send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.